Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 12-14 Public Diplomacy Review

"at times, the best public diplomacy just happens."

--Falk Hartig, from 2007 to 2009 deputy chief editor of “Cultural Exchange," Germany’s leading magazine for international relations and cultural exchange, and currently finishing his PhD thesis on “Confucius Institutes and the Rise of China”; image from


a) Public Diplomacy on the Frontlines: Session One - youtube.com: "APDS Conference 2013 hosted in the Franklin Room at USC's Tutor Center on 3 May 2013. Nick Cull, Director of the Master's [sic] of Public Diplomacy, opened the conference. David Ensor, Director of VOA, keynoted the morning Session. The first panel, The New Frontlines of Public Diplomacy: Public Diplomacy's Domestic Dimensions, included Nick Cull, Zhou Xinyu, Beijing Foreign Studies University, R.S. Zaharna, American University, Pamela Starr, School of IR USC."

b) Syrian rebel 'cuts out soldier's heart and EATS it' in horrific propaganda video - dailymail.co.uk.

Image from article/video, with caption: Horrific: The amateur video posted on the Internet on Sunday shows Abu Sakkar, a founder of the rebel Farouq Brigade who is well known to journalists as an insurgent from Homs, cutting into the torso of a dead soldier


A Champion of Public Diplomacy - Philip Seib, New York Times: "The partisanship surrounding the Benghazi hearings threatens to obscure significant achievements in advancing America’s national interest. In Clinton’s case, her skill in advancing the use of public diplomacy was a highlight of her tenure as secretary. Clinton showed she understood that in a world with five billion cell phones and growing use of social media, people want to connect directly with those whose policies affect them. Further, once the connection

is made, people expect to have their say and be listened to. One-way communication is archaic and ineffective; dialogue is an essential part of a new global politics grounded in media-based empowerment. ... More than any previous secretary of state, Clinton 'got it' in terms of understanding the importance of public diplomacy as a foreign policy tool. ... [comment by] RCPompano Beach FL I notice that Seib lists no stellar foreign affairs accomplishments by Clinton. But she did travel a lot, and 'she understood that in a world with five billion cell phones and growing use of social media, people want to connect directly with those whose policies affect them', which is fine for someone on the campaign trail, but has little or nothing to do with dealing with foreign leaders and their military commanders etc. By the way Mr, Seib. A traveling vacuum cleaner salesman can log hundreds of thousands of miles, but if he doesn't make any sales, he's still a failure. ... [comment by] JT FLORIDAVenice, FL Not only was Secretary Clinton a champion of public diplomacy, she organized the Department in a new reality that technology could play a vital role in communication. She hired people like Jared Cohen and Alec Ross to transform many U.S. posts overseas to enable them to more effectively communicate with people. Her Town Hall meetings engaged young people in a manner that no former SecState has been able to do. Clinton's capacity for learning about places outside her comfort zone made her one of the most effective leaders of the State Department's history." See also John  Brown, "Hillary, Foreign Policy, and the all-American Superbowl," Huffington Post (2/04/2013). Image from

President Obama's Surprisingly Ineffective Use of Soft Power - James Glassman, Politic365: "The problem of America being 'reviled in many parts of the world' is vastly overblown, but it has surely not been remedied. Europeans and the Japanese like us more, but they were pretty fond of us to start with. Muslims, according to the Pew Research Center, like us less. In Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon, the average favorability rating for the United States in 2012 was 21 percent; in 2008, it was 26 percent. ... The Obama administration suffered from a common foreign policy disease: a fierce aversion to whatever policies the previous administration adopted.

Its strategy has been reactive and timid: pull out, repair alleged damage, lead from behind. Thus, the war of ideas that Bush waged against terrorist ideologies was jettisoned, as was stand-up support for democratic movements and freedom advocates. It is hard to see the evidence that abandoning these approaches has made the United States more secure or the world less volatile. ... Perhaps the greatest disappointment is the president’s surprising reluctance to use the tools, not of hard power but of soft — especially the aggressive deployment of social media to win foreign policy ends, such as persuading Iranians to oppose their regime’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons or supporting democratic elements in Egypt and other nations of the Arab spring. The president knows these tools well and deployed them successfully in his domestic political campaigns. There, at least, he has not been reluctant to lead from the front. Glassman, former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, is executive director of the George W. Bush Institute. Image from

Barack Obama’s top ten insults against Britain – 2013 edition - Nile Gardiner, blogs.telegraph.co.uk: "Since first taking office in 2009, the Obama presidency has displayed what can only be described as a sneering disdain and contempt for America’s most important ally, an approach which has continued into Obama’s second term. Barack Obama has been the most anti-British US president of modern times, even kicking off his first term with a decision to remove a bust of Sir Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and send it packing to the British Embassy. ... [insult no.] 5. Throwing Churchill out of the Oval Office[:] It is hard to think of a more derogatory message to send to the British people within days of taking office than to fling a bust of Winston Churchill out of the Oval Office and send it packing back to the British Embassy – not least as it was a loaned gift from Britain to the United States as a powerful display of solidarity in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Obviously, public diplomacy is not a concept that carries much weight in the current White House, and nor apparently is common sense. Four years on, the Churchill bust incident continues to embarrass the Obama White House, and remains a sad symbol of this administration’s contempt for the Special Relationship as well as one of the greatest figures in British history." FOUND ON THE NET: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes." Winston Churchill, cited in Patrick Cockburn, "Britain's role in shaping Iraq," BBC News (2003)

US applauds Ghana’s political institutions in the wake of Election Petition - politics.myjoyonline.com: The United States is pleased with the on-going political situation in Ghana with regards to the current petition challenging the outcome of the December 2012 presidential polls in court. Mr Michael Pelletier, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, African Affairs of the U.S Department of State, said 'it shows that the institutions are working in Ghana and people have confidence in the institutions.' Mr Pelletier said this when speaking with the Ghana News Agency at the US Department of State building in Washington DC on Friday after meeting with 2013 Spring Professional Fellows to address U.S-Africa foreign policy issues. Professional Fellows are up and coming and mid-level emerging leaders, who are competitively selected from across the globe by partner agencies of the U.S Department of State to come to the U.S and work with U.S public and private institutions and NGOs with the aim to broaden their expertise as well as understanding of American society.

For this year’s Spring programme, 220 professionals in the areas of legislation, economics and media were selected from over 40 countries including Ghana, China, Peru, Costa Rica, to participate in an event where they spent four weeks working with various U.S institutions. ... Mr Pelletier said the U.S government would continue to work with the Ghana government to promote the welfare of the people in-line with its (U.S government) foreign policy objectives, which included strengthening democratic institutions, ensuring rule of law, free press, and promoting opportunities in economic growth and development. Ms Tara Sonenshine, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs said the Professional Fellows Programme was at the core of the U.S government’s ideology and practicality adding it promoted mutual understanding between the U.S and other peoples across the world." Image from

India seeks US collaboration in education sector: Expanding opportunities for US students in India and use of educational resources to expand access to improved quality of education were also discussed at the summit - business-standard.com [May 14, 2013]: "India has sought academic collaboration with various US institutions to leverage the full potential of the education sector to meet the increasing needs of both the countries, particularly in the fields of information and technology. 'Our academic institutions have been slow to leverage the potential of technology for education. Knowledge networks that link research in the grand challenges of the world have also been slow to develop,' Minister of India for human resources development, M Pallam Raju said yesterday. Raju is leading a delegation of academicians and officials for the annual India-US Education Dialogue. The US delegation include Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara Sonenshine, and the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Robert Blake."

Public Schedule: Tuesday, May 14 - U.S. Department of State: UNDER SECRETARY FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS TARA SONENSHINE 11:00 a.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine meets with Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Pallum Raju, in Washington, DC. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 1:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine meets with U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone, at the Department of State.

(CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 2:00 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine meets with U.S. Ambassador to Austria William Eacho, at the Department of State. (CLOSED PRESS COVERAGE) 7:30 p.m. Under Secretary Sonenshine attends a dinner hosted by Ambassador of India to the U.S. Nirupama Rao in honor of Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Dr. Pallum Raju’s visit, in Washington, DC. (MEDIA DETERMINED BY HOST)" Image from

Establishment of an Academic Partnership in Elementary Education with Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan - grants.gov: "Estimated Total Program Funding: $1,000,000 ... CFDA Number(s): 19.501 -- Public Diplomacy Programs for Afghanistan and Pakistan ... The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad and the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore announces an open competition for a cooperative agreement to establish an Academic Partnership in Elementary Education between a U.S. educational institution and the Government College University Faisalabad (GCUF) in Faisalabad, Pakistan. ... Objectives detailed as priorities for this partnership include: curriculum development, professional development for faculty by US counterparts, and faculty and student exchange. Faculty and student exchange programs of one semester are preferred. The Government College University Faisalabad has indicated the primary focus area should be bachelor level elementary education. In addition, the university has expressed a desire for assistance to establish a computer lab for teachers and students in the Department of Education, and to receive online access to international journals."

The Port of Joy - Paul Rockower, Levantine: [Latest report on American Voices performers -- Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson, with Moanalani Beamer -- in Brazil:] "The night's concert was being held at the Instituto Cultural Brasileiro Norte Americano (ICBNA). The theater seated about 150 people, and was nicely full with a very receptive crowd. Keola and co put on a great show. Cesar our consulate host played translator, and Keola had a bit of fun messing with him with translations. At one point, Keola played a song about a bird, and did a caw. Then he nudged Cesar to translate that, so Cesar followed suit.

The crowd died of laughter. The whole show was quite good, and there was a real appreciation of the Hawaiian music and culture that was showcased. I think that the cultural diplomacy projection of Hawaiian music has been tremendously successful because it is so different than the standard picture of American culture. The best cultural diplomacy is always iconoclastic, forcing audiences to re-imagine their conceptions of culture from the sending country. Even as an American, Hawaiian music and culture was very foreign to me, so even more so for Brazilians. The best cultural diplomacy smashes the pre-conceived images and understanding of a country by laterally challenging notions of perception. ... On a gastrodiplomacy note, I need to write a piece about Hawaiian gastrodiplomacy as an extension of the regional US gastrodiplomacy focus I am pushing. The distinctness of Hawaiian cuisine is exactly the kind of nuanced projection of American cuisine that the Culinary Diplomacy Initiative should be pursuing. As I have previously written, Hawaii does a bit of its own cultural diplomacy." Image from entry

‘American English’ mobile app launched by US Department of State to help visitors and immigrants speak the local lingo - Christopher Simmons, enewschannels.com: "The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is pleased to announce the release of the free “American English” mobile application for lower-tech feature phones and Android devices. Developed in partnership with English Education Alliance (E2A) members, biNu and Worldreader, the application provides new audiences worldwide with 'anytime, anywhere' English language learning resources on the mobile devices they already own. Expanding access to English language learning is a top public diplomacy goal for the Department of State.

English language skills open doors to economic empowerment and educational opportunities for billions of people around the world. The application consolidates State Department English language learning content in one easy-to-access location. Content includes e-books, audiobooks, music, quizzes, and the “Trace Word Soup” vocabulary game. Voice of America news feeds for English learners and a variety of other language, news, and social media content are also available. Learners can use the application to practice language skills and expand their academic and professional opportunities. biNu’s data compression technology makes accessing the “American English” app more cost-effective by reducing download time. As a result, English language teachers in less well-connected areas of the world can bring multimedia content into their classrooms through their mobile phones and encourage study outside of class time." Image from

BWIT and UCEP Celebrate Girls in ICT Day 2013 - techworldbd.com: "Bangladesh Women in Technology BWIT and UCEP celebrated Girls in ICT in Bangladesh with Luna Samsuddoha, President BWIT in the Chair. The event was held at UCEP, Mirpur Technical School, on 25th April 2013 with the participation of girl student. IT Journalists and IT entrepreneurs, IT professionals and Donor agency attended the event. The other speakers were Brig Gen. Aftab Uddin Ahmed (Retd.), Executive Director, UCEP-Bangladesh; Claudia A. Page, Public Diplomacy Officer, The American Center; Mohammad Kawsar Uddin, Ex-President, Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum (BIJF); Nazmul Hossain, Member BIJF; Naznin Nahar, Editor, TechWorld Bangladesh; Rezwana Khan, Director & COO, Star Computer System Limited."

Kelly Hunt, wounded diplomat with ET ties, continues to improve - Matt Lakin, knoxnews.com: "Kelly Hunt is awake and mouthing words, more than a month after being wounded in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan. Hunt, 33, remains at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, where she’s been since April. ... Hunt

was working as a public diplomacy officer for the State Department. She worked for the News Sentinel as a part-time copy editor from 2007 to 2009 while earning a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee in international journalism." Hunt image from article

BBG board nominee Ryan Crocker called the premier U.S. diplomat of his generation - BBGWatcher, usgbroadcasts.com: "BBG Watch welcomes the nomination of Ambassador Crocker to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

We hope that, once he is confirmed, he will join Victor Ashe, Susan McCue and Michael Meehan in their efforts to reform the bureaucracy of the International Broadcasting Bureau. We hope that they will re-examine IBB’s misguided and unworkable strategic plan. We hope that Jeff Shell and Matt Armstrong will also join this undertaking if they are confirmed. We hope that together they will transform U.S. international broadcasting into what it should be — a critical force for media freedom in countries and regions of strategic importance to the United States." Crocker image from entry

Crocker and Ashe needed both at Broadcasting Board of Governors - The Federalist, usgbroadcasts.com: "Ambassadors Crocker and Ashe are both needed at the Broadcasting Board of Governors to reform the agency’s defiant bureaucracy and to strengthen America’s voice abroad."

Turkey as a Regional Foreign Policy Actor - Marc Pierini, Carnegie Europe: "In a few days, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, will visit Washington, a significant step for the country which has NATO’s second largest conventional army. The visit will also take place after a deeply troubled Turkish-Israeli relationship will have been reset at a proper level, after President Barack Obama’s successful intermediation. ... The Turkish-Israeli relationship is being restored: the never-interrupted economic links will take off again, compensations in the Mavi Marmara case will be paid, diplomatic relations will resume and even foreign policy discussions will take place, including on Palestine.

In all these compartments, relations will thrive all the more that both sides will avoid an excessively public diplomacy, especially on Syria and Palestine. Turkey’s analyses will be heard, not clamor." Image from, with caption: Turkish actor Mert Firat covers the May 2013 edition of GQ Turkey. He looks like confused. Very confused.

Turkey’s JDP returns to its Islamic roots - english.alarabiya.net: "The government and Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, invited us to the Turkish capital where we spent several days meeting with politicians and people close to the ruling party. ... I had never seen or heard JDP members being honest in the declaration of their Islamic leanings, as I have seen and heard during my recent visit. ... Mr. Jamal al-Din Hashemi, advisor to the Prime Minister and in charge of 'public diplomacy management that is directly linked to Erdogan, openly says: 'The Justice Party calls for change, not only in Turkey but in the whole region. The previous and old Arab regimes cannot continue as they were. But each country can undertake its reforms according to its own circumstances.'”

Qatar National Library and Spanish Embassy explore cultural links - ameinfo.com: "On a recent visit to Qatar National Library's Heritage Collection Building, Her Excellency Mrs. Carmen De La Peña, Spain's Ambassador to Qatar, donated a selection of valuable books

in collaboration with the Islamic Library of the Spanish Agency for Cooperation and Development (AECID) and Casa Árabe, a Spanish public diplomacy institution focused on relations with the Arab world." Carmen De La Peña image from

What China loves about Germany: soccer, cars and Hitler - Falk Hartig, PD News–CPD Blog, USC Center on Public Diplomacy: Although all these examples [soccer, cars and Hitler] very much helped to shape Germany’s image in China, not a single one was actually initiated by the German government to charm the Chinese, or anyone else in the world. This, of course, is not to say that the German government is inactive in China. For example, the German Foreign Office put six million euros (almost eight million US dollars) into a year-long “Art of Enlightenment” exhibition, held from April 2011 to March 2012 at the National Museum of China on Tiananmen Square. However, this exhibition, the biggest German overseas exhibition ever, did not really have the hoped-for effects: it not only led to heated debates in Germany on whether it was appropriate to organize cultural projects with undemocratic China, but also visitor numbers were rather modest for China. In total some 450,000 people came to the exhibition organized by curators from Berlin, Munich and Dresden’s State Art Collections. What does this have to do with public diplomacy? All this, it seems, is a perfect example of what one does when one is not doing public diplomacy and that, at times, the best public diplomacy just happens alongside.

Escape From China:One-Fifth Of Affluent Chinese Plan To Emigrate [IBT]#RisingChina #Emigration - http://wanderingchina.org:  "Third wave of emigration = more agents for Chinese public diplomacy?

To access the International Emigration Report 2012, go here." Image from entry

China Pushes for ‘Redoubling’ Efforts to Resolve Boundary Question - indiawrites.org: "Ahead of Premier Li Keqiang’s maiden visit to New Delhi, China has stressed on 'an urgent need to redouble efforts' to push forward an early solution of the decades-long boundary problem. A senior Chinese official sought to set a positive tone for the forthcoming visit of Premier Li by exhorting the Indian media in New Delhi to take a long-range view of India-China relations and show care in writing about sensitive and complex issues like the boundary question. In an outreach diplomacy, Qin Gang, Spokesperson and Director-General of Information Department in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of India’s foreign office, and Riva Ganguly Das, joint secretary, in charge of public diplomacy, in India’s foreign office. The interactions were aimed at enhancing mutual understanding, said Chinese officials."

Interview with Meir Shlomo (Strategic Advisor for the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel) and Ilan Sztulman (Deputy Director of Public Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel) - Cultural Diplomacy News: Mr. Shlomo and Mr. Sztulman were kind enough to take part in an interview with members of the ICD news team. [Q:] Could you please tell us how the Ministry of Foreign Affairs become interested in public diplomacy and how did you personally become interested in this area? [A:] (Shlomo) It has always been an issue for Israel to make sure that people know what Israel is all about and to gather as much support as we can, because we have always been in a dire situation. Public diplomacy for us was something that we had to do, even if we didn’t want to, because we were in a situation that required us to explain to the world what is happening in the Middle East, so it was something natural for us to do. Personally, I did it because I did my masters in Mass Communication and then I joined the Ministry, so it was natural. (Sztulman) I was actually a businessman and just by chance, Meir told me to join. I’m in the public division, because that is where my knowledge lies. I studied art and used to be a photographer. [Q:] I know you use the internet as a tool for public diplomacy. Have you noticed any improvement of Israel’s image abroad using this tool? How successful do you rate the public diplomacy effort of Israel to have been? [A:] (Sztulman) Doubtless, that’s one of the advantages of using the internet – we can measure the effectiveness of our work. If we go and do a conference and hope that we will be able to improve people’s attitudes about Israel, we can’t really measure our success, it’s very difficult to do that. Of course we can do focus groups but on a day-to-day basis, you cannot measure success. With the internet, you can measure everything, how people got into your website, how long they stayed, and you can read their comments too if it’s a blog. I can definitely say that since we started working on the web there has been an improvement in the image of Israel. If you take into consideration that Israel has only existed for 60 years, that it is a poor country, and that we have a very low budget to work with. I think we have managed to produce a useful tool that’s actually used by our government. There is a lot to improve, but we are getting there. We also engage in projects where we go to different countries wanting to exchange ideas, so we’re learning all the time. We’re not doing badly. (Shlomo) I think it has gone pretty well, but we could have done it a bit better frankly speaking. I also think that it is a learning process, and you simply learn from your experiences. For the shear reason that for us it was a necessity, I think that we may be a bit ahead of the kerb, compared to other ministries that didn’t have to tackle issues that we had to. [Q:] Do you think that public diplomacy will be used more extensively in the future, especially with the increasing use of the internet? (Shlomo) I wouldn’t say public diplomacy is becoming more important than traditional diplomacy, but as our society and the world’s society is becoming more and more influenced by mass media, it is becoming a vital tool and is being utilised extensively. Therefore, I feel the work of public diplomacy is going to become more critical for countries to further their agenda, whatever that may be, whether it is an economic or a political agenda. Public and cultural diplomacy are going to be very important backbones of diplomacy in the future. In an interdependent world, nations still think that it is a better idea to talk to each other, rather than to kill each other, and hopefully that trend will carry on. As long as that is the major trend, then what tool is better than public diplomacy for countries to speak to each other? So I think the importance of this tool will go exponentially.

(Sztulman) People-to-people exchange efforts are very useful. I ask kids, please go out and talk to your counterparts for example in Germany and Holland and show them that you like the same music and movie stars. This will prove that the distance between them is actually very little and when they develop this sort of engagement between them, the walls will fall and exchange will go on. There is a very good future ahead for public diplomacy. [Q:] In previous forums, we discussed the difference between propaganda, advertisement and cultural diplomacy. What would you say if someone said that the work you do is propaganda? [A:] (Shlomo) First of all, I would say this person has no clue what public diplomacy is actually all about. One of the messages I tried to convey today is that public diplomacy is all about persuasion. You use it in the commercial world, the diplomatic world and the interpersonal world. It’s up to you how you use this vehicle, you can do bad things with it or you can use it wisely, so I mean you can call it propaganda or cultural diplomacy, it’s the same vehicle, but you have to decide whether you put something good into the baggage compartment or something bad. (Sztulman) If you try and sell a bad product with nice looking packaging and have spent lots of money on a campaign – do you think people will still buy it? Probably not, because if the product is bad, people won’t take it, therefore, if people tell me that my work is propagandist, I tell them I’m using techniques to present the state of Israel, it’s culture and it’s people. It’s up to you to decide, you either like it and engage with us and have diplomatic relations or you don’t. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it. I don’t see that as a negative, on the contrary, I see this as an opportunity to get people together and to make a better world out of it. Interview conducted by Max Marioni and Izelle Wagner." Uncaptioned image from article

The organization behind illegal West Bank outpost construction: With friends in high places, law-evading ploys and piles of money in the bank, veteran settler leader Ze'ev Hever and his organization Amana are seemingly immune to Israeli legal action - Chaim Levinson, haaretz.com:
Amana ... [is] a cooperative society headed by the legendary Ze'ev ('Zambish') Hever, 59, one of the leaders of the settlement enterprise in the territories and a member of the Jewish Underground, a militant terrorist organization that operated in the West Bank in the 1980s. The homes in Mitzpeh Danny are being built according to one of Amana's three basic models: When you're building the Land of Israel, you don't get caught up in architectural niceties. ... Hever is an extreme pragmatist.

He will not shun anyone on ideological or moral grounds. Everything is measured in terms of what can be achieved for the benefit of the settlement project. In this sense he is from the old school: he believes the border will run along the line reached by the plow. In contrast to Naftali Bennett, the leader of Habayit Hayehudi and a minister in the new government, Hever does not believe that the battle for Judea and Samaria will be decided by public diplomacy, boutique wineries and Facebook 'likes,' but solely by construction on the ground. Every home that is built, even if illegally, will force the government to hold onto one more slice of the Land of Israel. Only one thing is ideological from Hever's point of view: boycotting the media. He never gives interviews, never comments on reports, and he attributes no importance to what's written about him. " Image from article, with caption: Ze'ev Hever, right, with IDF Spokesperson Yoav Moredechai, then head of Civil Administration, center

On Syria: Myths and Misconceptions - Karl Naylor, karl-naylor.blogspot.com: "Western Powers do not control their own allies but they do enter into mutually beneficial partnerships, as with Saudi Arabia. They seek to exploit opportunities and steer events towards their benefit, sometimes wisely and in Syria, unfortunately, unwisely. Yet in the previous twenty years the quality of Western statesmen has declined as the become less independent minded, far more prone to 'think tanks' with their penchant for ideological groupthink and selling war globally as being best for world peace via 'public diplomacy'."

Can Non State Actors Do Public Diplomacy? - Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence: "PD (or foreign public engagement or whatever you call it) is the way that it is because it is done by states; the response to it is due to the fact that it’s done by France or Israel or the US. PD is much harder than marketing a movie because states are much more complicated entities.

Some of the processes are the same but the nature of the entities and relationships involved are different and this makes me reluctant to see non-state entities as doing PD unless they are acting on behalf of states." Image from

Summary of Year - marwethamer, Diplomacy Old and New 2012a A group blog by students at London Metropolitan University: "[T]hrough the teaching year I understood the development of different kinds of diplomacy such as the public diplomacy, which is famous type of diplomacy; this type of diplomacy came from people from the roots. It can be through art, educations exchange, cultural, media and sport. Today the popularity of the public diplomacy reached the top which led governments to use them in order to affect Societies, where the traditional media, led by governments, for example, BBC in Britain, they use them to affect people."

Léon F. WEGNEZ, Doctor Honoris Causa of the prestigious SNSPA, Bucharest, Romania [scroll down link for item] - crd-aida.ro: "Léon F. WEGNEZ, Secretary General, International Association of the Distributive Trade, A.I.D.A. Brussels, was awarded the prestigious title of Doctor Honoris Causa of the National School of Political Science and Public Administration (SNSPA), Bucharest, Romania. ... Léon F. Wegnez understood the nature and role of diplomacy (as an intellectual activity based on the on-going processing and analysis of information) in meeting the demands posed by globalization and adapting to the new requirements and challenges, highlighting the importance of the relationship between imparting knowledge (which can be applied to decision-making) and developing skills so as to transpose the list of obstacles to diplomatic communication. He constantly pledged for networking and team-working in building a collaborative environment leading to the creation of adequate knowledge, by understanding the political context which frames diplomacy (including economic diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, public diplomacy, digital diplomacy and so on) into a competitive context, by sharing values, by respecting and valuing differences, by engaging and educating."

Please, Please [scroll down link for item] - Leone Cabenatabua, fijisun.com: "Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) veteran Sean Dorney continues to be miffed about not being allowed into Fiji any more, it seems. Whisper is he recently sent another rather curt note asking to be allowed back. The problem for Mr Dorney is that his reporting on Fiji is regarded here as constantly negative and hostile, rather than the objective the ABC likes to proclaim is its objective. Mr Dorney, of course, works for that part of the ABC funded by Australia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry. Foreign Minister Bob Carr in describing this called it 'effectively extending Australia’s public diplomacy reach.' Enough said."

Addressing Global Issues – rotaryhonolulusunrise.org: The Power of Youth Partnerships - rotaryhonolulusunrise.org: "Nicholas Papp is Diplomat-in-Residence & Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu. A U.S. Foreign Service Officer with 14 years’ experience at the U.S. Department of State, he has served at American Embassies in Iraq, Malaysia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates as well as at the American Institute in Taiwan.

His functional specialty is public diplomacy, including managing educational and cultural exchange programs. Papp image from entry

News and events - South Asia Masala, asiapacific.anu.edu.au: "New book announcement: Enriched Relations: Public Diplomacy in Australian Indian Relations, edited by David Lowe and Amit Sarwal (Delhi: Readworthy, 2013)."


The Kissinger Question: Does America need a foreign policy? Obama thinks not - Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal: It was the conceit of the Obama administration when it first came to office that America's foreign-policy problem was, at its heart, a public-relations problem; that the combination of unattractive policies (Gitmo, warrantless wiretaps, "torture"), and an unattractive president (W) had made tractable problems difficult. The cure? Mr. Obama's emollient rhetoric, his compelling biography, his concern, his willingness to reach out. In this analysis, America had erred by setting the wrong example. Set the right one, and the problems—from Iran's unwillingness to strike a grand bargain with the West to America's unpopularity on the Arab street to Russia's all-round nastiness—should have gone away. They didn't. Let's face it: America in the age of Obama does not have a foreign policy. It has foreign-policy impulses, and a foreign-policy apparatus, which bobs along on the waves and currents of events. Since we haven't capsized yet, we assume we can go on like this for a long time, maybe forever. One of the paradoxes of our supposedly hyperconnected world is how easily we still pretend that the rest of the world is far, far away.

Where Has All the Money Gone? How Contractors Raked in $385 Billion to Build and Support Bases Abroad since 2001 - David Vine, TomDispatch: "With so much money pouring into the Pentagon’s base world, the question is: Who’s benefiting? Some of the money clearly pays for things like salaries, health care, and other benefits for around one million military and Defense Department personnel and their families overseas. But after an extensive examination of government spending data and contracts, I estimate that the Pentagon has dispersed around $385 billion to private companies for work done outside the U.S. since late 2001, mainly in that baseworld. That’s nearly double the entire State Department budget over the same period, and because Pentagon and government accounting practices are so poor, the true total may be significantly higher."

American Apprehended in Russia versus Russian Influence Operations in America - Kerry Patton,
kerry-patton.com: “Russian agents, like Anna Chapman, are experts in infiltration operations. They select specific groups of individuals and or organizations or even businesses and slowly enter such bubbles. There, they begin to work their magic. What better place to conduct influence operations in America than Hollywood? Guess what? Russia has been at it for a very long time—dating back to the 1920’s. Don’t believe me? Read Russians in Hollywood, Hollywood’s Russians. Interestingly, they are still in Hollywood and actually expanding their initiatives of influence operations beyond just film and television.

Today, just like yesterday, the Russian espionage world of covert influence goes far beyond just Hollywood. We can find influence operations taking place in key financial markets, academia, and even in politics. It’s a national security nightmare virtually impossible to defeat unless those investigating such know how to properly “follow the money.” Image from entry, with caption: Russian Spy Anna Chapman

How the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year was faked with Photoshop - Sebastian Anthony
- extremetech.com: It turns out that the 2013 World Press Photo of the Year — the largest and most prestigious press photography award — was, in actual fact, a fake. The World Press Photo association hasn’t yet stripped the photographer, Paul Hansen, of the title, but presumably it’s just a matter of time. Rather than discussing the politics of photo manipulation, though — is it faked, or is it merely enhanced? — we’re going to look at how Hansen seemingly managed to trick a panel of experienced judges with his shooping skillz, and how a seasoned computer scientist spotted the fraudulent forgery from a mile off. The photo, dubbed Gaza Burial, was purportedly captured on November 20, 2012 by Paul Hansen. Hansen was in Gaza City when Israeli forces retaliated in response to Palestinian rocket fire. The photo shows two of the casualties of the Israeli attack, carried to their funeral by their uncles. Now, the event itself isn’t a fake — there are lots of other photos online that show the children being carried through the streets of Gaza — but the photo itself is almost certainly a composite of three different photos, with various regions spliced together from each of the images, and then further manipulation to illuminate the mourners’ faces. This revelation comes from Neal Krawetz, a forensic image analyst. Image from entry

Plagiarized Anti-Cuba Propaganda Put To Shame and Rest - ghanaweb.com: On 5th May 2013, an article entitled “Why The Unqualified Cuban Doctors Will Kill The Ghanaian People” supposedly written by Francis Tawiah was published by the websites Modernghana.com and Ghanaweb.com. However, as a matter of fact, this article was a word-for-word, plagiarized copy of an anti-Cuba propaganda piece written by Luís Henrique Vieira, a self-described freelance journalist, under the title “Once Renowned, Cuban Doctors Are Failing their Medical Exams in Droves” and published on 25th October 2011 by Fox News Latino.

Propaganda Versus Journalism - Jed Morey, longislandpress.com: Our missions abroad have been too transparently imperialistic in the eyes of the world, which is why we are so routinely, yet cautiously, chastised by other nations. Selling wars that were waged abroad in the 20th century relied on this form of posthumous “consent” from people in nations we deigned to conquer. Obtaining consent at home proved far more difficult as Americans began to understand the specious, unconscionable motives behind our “democratic” efforts in Vietnam, in particular. But the rise of anti-war protests had less to do with American sentiment toward the people of Vietnam and more to do with conscription. The era of genuine protest ended with the discontinuation of the draft in 1973. Undaunted, our belligerence has overcome the loss of faith entrusted in us by other nations after World War II and spurred America toward the “go it alone” philosophy adopted over the past few decades. This was best exhibited by George W. Bush’s “you’re either with us or against us” attitude in the months leading to our war in Iraq.

Manufactured consent is essentially the end result of propaganda; the conformity of thought that exhibits itself in a nationalistic dogma. It comes from the repetition of twisted logic delivered through mainstream media channels, logic that somehow turns our authentic subconscious into synthetic reality. Blood for oil under the pretense of spreading democracy. Despite having the world’s sympathy after 9/11, America bullied other nations into a tepid alliance in support of our hostilities against Iraq–a country that simply had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and was ruled by a regime more repressive of Islamic militants than any Western nation in the alliance. Yet bullying the world into complicity was one thing. Gaining support among Americans was a different matter altogether. Americans were not going to be forcibly cajoled into supporting an invasion in Iraq. Thus began an explosion of anti-Islam and pro-war propaganda within the United States concealed in the language of jingoism. “When the resources of violence are limited,” writes Chomsky, “the consent of the governed must be obtained by the devices called ‘manufacture of consent.’” Image from


a) "Help wanted: The Lois Roth Endowment seeks a person familiar with U.S. cultural diplomacy to provide administrative support for its grants and prizes (banking, thank you's, annual mailings) for 2-10 hours per week. Paid by the hour; expenses reimbursed. If interested please contact Skyler Arndt-Briggs, Vice-Chair: sky@german.umass.edu." Via AB

b) "In May 12-16, 2013 Department of Science, Industrial Policy and Entrepreneurship of Moscow City Administration, which has been set up to support small and medium size companies as well as businesses engaged in high-tech, is joining Nanotech Conference and Expo 2103, the most comprehensive nanotechnology event worldwide. It will take place at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, Washington, D.C., http://dnpp.mos.ru/default.aspx?s=0&p=564

http://www.nsti.org/about/events.html Twenty leading Nanotech companies and R and D labs of the Russian academic world are to participate in the join exposition, including Lomonosov Moscow State University within the framework of current government’s expectations to guide the country to the innovative path of development. http://www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=27245
Russia's top priority is to switch to innovative development of the economy, President Vladimir Putin said during the president’s annual call-in Q and A. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov spoke on Wednesday during the meeting of the innovation working group under the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission in Washington. According to him 'Russia does not yet have enough experimental production facilities and engineering centers'.  
http://rt.com/business/putin-economic-slowdown-russia-380/ Moscow Administration is to brand Russia as an innovative intellectual power, rendering support for Russian R and D companies to go international, as well as assisting in promotion of science and attracting young people to universities and labs through annual All-Russia Science festival. In 2012 many outstanding American scholars had a chance to meet with Russian audiences. In October 11-13, 2013 this practice will be enlarged. http://www.festivalnauki.ru/ In the true spirit of public diplomacy academic world is building bridges of mutually advantageous collaboration, while politicians find excuses to blame each other. Moscow Joint Nano Exposition in May 12-16 (Stand 101) in Washington should definitely attract those, who want to be involved in nanotech in Russia, through collaborative research, teaching, production and investment." Via OZ on email.


"The best cultural diplomacy is always iconoclastic."

--Gastrodiplomacy Guru/blogger extraordinaire Paul Rockower; see also.

"PD (or foreign public engagement or whatever you call it)... "

--Scholar Robin Brown, "Can Non State Actors Do Public Diplomacy?" Public Diplomacy, Networks and Influence


Young Americans Lead Trend to Less Driving - John Schwartz, New York Times: Younger people are less likely to drive — or even to have driver’s licenses — than past generations for whom driving was a birthright and the open road a symbol of freedom.


Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World - Tara Palmieri, New York Post: Some wealthy Manhattan moms have figured out a way to cut the long lines at Disney World — by hiring disabled people to pose as family members so they and their kids can jump to the front.

“It’s insider knowledge that very few have and share carefully,” said social anthropologist Dr. Wednesday Martin, who caught wind of the underground network while doing research for her upcoming book “Primates of Park Avenue.” Image from article, with caption: Rich moms shamelessly hire disabled tour guides so their kids can cut long lines.


Rasputin vs Stalin. Epic Rap Battles of History Season 2 finale


--Via JMcK on Facebook


Image from, with caption: A scanning electron micrograph shows a tinted image of the [canivorous plant] Utricularia gibba's bladder, which it uses to suck in microscopic prey for nutrition.

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